Comic Book Swap Meet returns to Tri-Area

Posted 7/10/19

What started out more than half a dozen years ago as a meet-up in a since-defunct coffee shop has evolved into an annual pilgrimage for fans of comics, gaming, pop culture and even fandom itself.

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Comic Book Swap Meet returns to Tri-Area

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What started out more than half a dozen years ago as a meet-up in a since-defunct coffee shop has evolved into an annual pilgrimage for fans of comics, gaming, pop culture and even fandom itself.

Steve Strout is proud to announce the return of the “Comic Book Swap Meet” to the Tri-Area Community Center in Chimacum from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 13, an event he aims to see get recognized as the Olympic Peninsula’s own “mini-comic con.”

In the beginning, the event drew what Strout considered “a sporadic turnout,” with a handful of local comic book creators joining fans in having “a great time geeking out with like-minded folks, gaming, and talking comics and pop culture.”

Before too long, the Comic Book Swap Meet had drawn enough professional comics creators, as well as waiting lists for vendors trying to get a spot at the show, that it outgrew its original environs.

Strout credits at least part of the growth of the event to its inclusive scope, because while the “Comic Book Swap Meet” is a catchy title, Strout assured prospective attendees that it’s intended to be welcoming to fandom in general.

Strout promises that visitors to the Tri-Area Community Center that Saturday will find vendors selling comic books, toys and other collectibles, as well as a lineup of comics and other art creators from throughout the region.

“We’ll also have a bit of space for gamers to hang out, play their favorite tabletop games and make new friends,” said Strout, who passed along a rumor that a replica of the TARDIS from Doctor Who might even be available on site for photo ops.

Strout is especially proud to have drawn comic colorist Jeremy Colwell as this year’s guest of honor, and Vampirella artist Blacky Shepherd as the event’s special guest.

Colwell has been working on DC and IDW’s Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover series, which Strout pointed out is “one of the hottest selling comics on the market today,” coinciding with the 80th anniversary of Batman and the 35th anniversary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Shepherd is helping Dynamite Comics ring in an anniversary of its own, since Vampirella turns 50 this year, but he’s also worked on iconic comic franchises such as Voltron and G.I. Joe.

Strout attributes many of his comics industry connections to the decade he’s spent running his fandom culture commentary site, thestevestrout.com, as well as his travels to conventions across the Pacific Northwest, and as far afield as Boston.

“It’s given me great opportunities and privileges that I don’t take for granted, as I constantly promote creators, artists and performers,” Strout said. “I am always keeping my eyes open for fun new stuff.”

It’s for the fun that Strout continues the tradition of the Comic Book Swap Meet, since he has next to no budget, and no intentions of making any profits from the event.

“We have a few great sponsors who help cover our costs,” said Strout, whose $5-per-person admission to help support the food bank this year is reduced to $3 for anyone who brings a non-perishable food item. “On top of that, we’ll be doing some raffles, with all proceeds going to the homeless shelter in town. We have some great prizes, like signed books, movie posters and more.”

Strout emphasized the Comic Book Swap Meet is “a family-friendly event” that encourages attendees to cosplay as their favorite characters and superheroes.

Among this year’s sponsors are The Printery of Port Townsend, Anime Kat of Port Angeles, Ferino’s Pizzeria and Brocante of Port Hadlock, Retro Emporium of Kent, and Valiant Entertainment.

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